Monday, 16 January 2012

Amanda Egan on how a phobia turned into a 5 Star Book

I have the wonderfully talented, Amanda Egan sitting at the side of my pool today talking about how a sad and terrible phobia set in place the foundations of her five star book, The Diary of a Mummy Misfit.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a huge reader. As a child I liked nothing more than to escape into a good book and see it unravel in my head like a film. And I've always written - short stories, half finished novels and even a bad attempt at Mills and Boon!
I think the main reason I gave up on those attempts was because I'd got into the habit of over-planning and then, when it came to the actual writing, I was bored with the idea. Now I love to get the seed of an idea and see where the characters take me - much more exciting.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit came about five years ago when my son developed school phobia. At the age of eleven he left a small prep school and moved on to secondary school. He was, quite literally, unable to enter a classroom. The advice from child psychologists was to take baby steps with me constantly in the background. So for three long years, I remained either outside classroom doors or in the school car park.
Most days would see me reading at least ONE book and then, quite suddenly, I decided that I could use my more humorous prep school experiences and turn them into a work of fiction. My car became my office and I would tap away from 8.30 in the morning until school finished at 4. The book wrote itself within a matter of a few months - it’s amazing what you can do with no distractions. Then the hard graft of editing and polishing started. That wasn’t quite as much fun and seemed to take forever.

People often ask if the character of Libby is based on me and, I guess to a certain extent, she is. We made sacrifices to put our son through private education, we didn’t fit the demographic and met some larger than life characters along the way - some loveable, others intolerable. I took the whole experience and blended it into a story. Due to the nature of the book there are only six people from the school who are aware of the book (as far as I know) and I still live in fear that I could be run out of South West London!

The sequel, The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit, was written from the comfort of my home - son was flying solo by then. In some ways this made it more difficult as there were always reasons NOT to write - go on Twitter, put the washing on, make coffee, watch TV! But in lots of ways it also wrote itself as the stage had been set and the characters knew where they wanted to go.

Readers have suggested that there could be a third book in the series but I’m not so sure this would be the right move. I’m looking forward to writing other novels and moving away from the diary format.

So from my son’s sad and worrying condition, some good came - the birth of Mummy Misfit.

Thanks Amanda for talking time out to enjoy my bubbly and talk about your wonderfully funny book, which I loved.

You can read all about Amanda and her writing at

The Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available from Amazon


Kath said...

I love the sound of these two - will look out for them.

Kim The Book Worm said...

Hi Pauline and Amanda, Amanda - you know that I've read both of these and laughed and cried at both of them. Loved reading about the trials and tribulations of Libby and loved Fenella. I'd love to spend a night out in their company. Great interview and next time one of my favourite authors is sitting around your pool Pauline, you could at least invite me too! Could do with some sunshine, it's bloody freezing here today! Thanks both. Kim x x x

Rosalind Adam said...

I'm so pleased that your son has overcome his phobia but what a positive result for you and the resulting books sounds excellent.

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Kath, thanks for stopping by, I've read Diary of a Mummy Misfit and loved it.

Hello Kim, there are fab books and of course come on down :)

Hi Ros, as always thanks for calling by x

Amanda Egan said...

Thank you Pauline for featuring me on your blog and thanks to all for your comments. xx